By WCCO-TV Reporter Pafoua Yang
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With thousands expected to hit local lakes this weekend, officials are emphasizing safety.READ MORE: Group Files Lawsuit Over Potential Ballot Question On Replacing Minneapolis Police Dept.
The top cause of water-related accidents is running into other watercraft. With an upwards of 8,000 boats expected on Lake Minnetonka this weekend it’s especially important to know the rules.
Authorities continue to investigate a crash that killed a boy on Lake Minnetonka. The incident happened Wednesday night on East Upper Lake. Hennepin County investigators say two personal watercraft like jet skis, crashed.
Boaters pulled the child out of the water and performed CPR. The water patrol took over when they got there, but it was too late.
“It was just I think it was an accident, two young men. I don’t want to say a ton because it’s still under investigation but it’s a tragedy, jet skiers,” said Sheriff David Hutchinson.
The sheriff has not released the name of the boy and didn’t tell us how the other boy is doing now.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department said an upward of 8,000 boats are expected to be on the water this weekend. The agency will have 5 times more deputies on lakes and rivers to patrol the areas.
Boat rentals nearby including Bay Rental in Mound, are encouraging drivers to review safety guidelines.READ MORE: The Do's And Don'ts As Air Quality Alert Casts Pall Over Minnesota
Almost every day of the summer Bay Rental is backlogged on personal watercraft. Before the business signs off a boat, it’s priority to go over the rules with the customer.
“The number one cause of accidents is running into other watercraft,” said Giulia Rabello with Bay Rental. “If you’re 150 ft. or less than the shore, boats, jet ski, you have to have an idle speed of 5 mph or less.”
While the speed limit on the water is typically 40 mph for a personal watercraft, a speed of 30 mph can travel 50 ft. in one second.
“You don’t have a lot of reaction time to hit the brakes if you’re close to another jet ski,” said Rabello.
Rabello added that life jackets are essential. She said driving big boats and personal watercraft can have some differences too. Big boats tend to not move or turn as fast.
“There’s more room for action on a jet ski than on a boat,” she said.
Water safety permits are also required for ages between 13 and 17. Thirteen-year-olds need an adult supervision while 14- through 17-year-olds do not.MORE NEWS: Minnesota Weather: Air Quality Alert Extended Due To ‘Unprecedented’ Conditions
While having fun is the goal, Rabello said safety should always be priority.
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